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Environment

Coffee grounds recycled as carbon capture material

Coffee grounds are not exactly noxious despoilers of the environment, but many millions of tons of them are generated every year and simply disposed of with other vegetable matter and food waste. Now, researchers have devised a way to utilize this innocuous waste product to get rid of a much more dangerous one. By modifying used coffee grounds into a carbon capture material, the new product may provide a simple, inexpensive way to remove a prolific and harmful greenhouse gas from the atmosphere.Read More

Compostable electronics could ease the e-waste problem

Some day soon your obsolete gadgets could be as compostable as banana peels and spent coffee grounds. Researchers from the Young Investigator Network at Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT) in Germany are developing printed electronics from natural and compostable materials that could help make a dent in the millions of tons of electronic waste piling up worldwide each year.Read More

Nanotech could rid cattle of ticks, with less collateral damage

If you've ever used tick medicine on your dog, then you're probably aware of how toxic the stuff is. Well, it's used on cows too, and it can end up in their meat, milk, or the surrounding environment. Fortunately, however, scientists at the National University of Mexico have developed a new type of tick treatment for cattle that is reportedly much less toxic than what's currently used.Read More

NASA teleconference on sea level change warns of rising oceans

On Aug. 26, NASA held a media teleconference regarding current predictions on sea level rise, highlighting the risks to coastal populations in low-lying areas, and the inherent problems in creating reliable global models. A panel of experts from NASA's recently-founded Sea Level Change Team tells us that ocean levels are inexorably on the rise, but gaps in our understanding and ability to survey risk regions mean we don't know just how fast the change will take place.Read More

Waste paper could be a new source of "green" lighter fluid

Lighter fluid may be useful for getting barbecue briquettes or campfires lit, but it's not the most eco-friendly stuff in the world. It's often made from crude oil, and gives off toxic fumes when it burns. A team of scientists from Hong Kong and Hungary are developing what could be a greener solution, however – cleaner-burning lighter fluid derived from discarded paper.Read More

Feature

How Chile's fogcatchers are bringing water to the driest desert on Earth

"It's easy for people in the cities. They don't have to think about it. They turn on the tap and they have water to wash and water to drink. Here, access to water is a much more complicated issue." Daniel Rojas might have been talking about any place on Earth where water is hard to come by, but his words have a particular salience in Peña Blanca, Chile. The remote, drought-stricken community lies on the fringes of an expanding Atacama Desert, the driest (non-polar) desert on Earth. Parts of this parched, desolate land have never seen a single drop of rain, but by using a cleverly designed system the locals are able to harvest the mist that rolls in from the Pacific for farming, preserving native vegetation, and even producing beer.Read More

Winemaking waste could be raw material for biofuel

Researchers are already developing methods of making biofuel from cellulosic waste, such as corn stover and wood fibers, offering reduced environmental impact and no competition with food crops. Now, new research is investigating the possibility of turning waste from the winemaking industry into biofuel, not requiring the planting of any new crops.Read More

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